RAMAH or HA-RAMAH or HA-RAMATHAIM-ZOPHIM (Heb. הָרָמָתַיִם־צוֹפִים ,הָרָמָה ,רָמָה; "height"), the designation of several places located on high ground (see also Ramoth).
(1) A town in the territory of Benjamin, mentioned together with Gibeon and Beeroth in Joshua 18:25 and with Gibeah on the main road north of Jerusalem in Judges 19:13, Isaiah 10:29, and Hosea 5:8. Baasha, king of Israel, tried to fortify the place against Judah, but Asa of Judah dismantled the fort and used the materials to strengthen Gebah and Mizpeh (I Kings 15:17ff.; II Chron. 16:1, 5–6). Jeremiah, following the tradition of the north, located the tomb of Rachel in Ramah (31:15). There the Babylonians concentrated the captives taken from Jerusalem before exiling them (Jer. 40:1). After the return from exile, the place was resettled by Judeans (Ezra 2:26; Neh. 7:30; 11:33). Later authors place it 6 mi. (c. 9 km.) north of Jerusalem (Eusebius, Onom. 144:14; Jerome, Hosea 5:8, and Zephaniah 1:15), a location corresponding to the village of al-Rām, which was a fief of the Holy Sepulcher in the Middle Ages.
(2) A town in the territory of Naphtali, mentioned together with Adamah and Hazor in Joshua 19:36. It is identified with Khirbet al-Jūl, near al-Rāma in the valley of Beth-Cherem in Galilee. In 1933 I. Ben-Zvi discovered a synagogue lintel with an Aramaic inscription there.
(3) A town in the territory of Asher (Josh. 19:29). Its identification with Rāmiya, southeast of Tyre, is controversial.
(4) The hometown of Samuel (I Sam. 1:1; as Ramathaim-Zophim) and possibly the residence of Deborah (Judg. 4:5). There Samuel judged Israel (I Sam. 7:17; 8:4) and was later buried (I Sam. 25:1; 28:3); his school of prophets was located in Naioth in Ramah (I Sam. 19:22–24). In the Septuagint, it is identified with ha-Ramatha or Arimathea, which is described in I Maccabees 11:34 as the headquarters of a Samaritan toparchy transferred to Judea in 145 B.C.E.; this place was the home town of Joseph, a Jerusalem councilor, in whose tomb Jesus was buried (Matt. 27:57, et al.). It was called Remphthis by Eusebius (Onom. 144:28) and is the present-day Rantis, northeast of Lydda. However, the identification of this site with Samuel's birthplace is controversial. Various scholars view that both names of Zuph on the border of the territories of Benjamin and Ephraim (I Sam. 1:1; 9:4).
Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 427; Abel and Ben-Zvi, in: jpos, 13 (1933), 94ff.; Alt, in: PJB, 24 (1928), 70; Aharoni, Land, index.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.